To know how to be a successful salesperson, you have to look at your numbers. Understand why succeeding is trickier. In sales, success is a reflection of two things: The strength of your hard skills and the power of your soft skills. You need to learn the top soft skills you need to have today to gain that extra edge on your job hunting.
Unlike hard selling skills, which are relatively easy to teach and measure, soft skills are obscure. They include a salesperson’s ability to relate and communicate with others, emotional intelligence, level of charisma and confidence, and more. Because selling is so people-centric, soft skills are critical.
With this relationship between success and “soft skills” in mind, let’s look at the six soft skills every rep needs to get ahead — and, more importantly, how to develop them.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are personal attribute-driven general skills, such as giving and receiving feedback, working collaboratively, and managing time. They are usually self-developed (as opposed to hard skills, which you typically acquire in school or on the job), and they’ll help you in a wide range of jobs, not just the target job you’re applying for.
In August 2016, LinkedIn published the results of a year-long study on soft skills and listed the 10 most sought-after by employers.
Below is the list; explanations of each skill provided by me. Whether you’re writing your resume or prepping for an interview, focus on noting/exemplifying the soft skills you’ve gained mastery of.
Having a Degree and credentials are important, but the improvement of soft skills is a crucial part of cultivating a dynamic workforce. You may have soft skills that are high in demand and not even know it, skills that you can add to your resume and help you become a better contender for the job you’re applying for.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 soft skills that are in demand for today’s job market:
More than just clearly speaking the language, communication skills involve active listening and excellent presentation and writing capabilities. One highly sought-after communication skill is explaining technical concepts to partners, customers, and coworkers who aren’t tech-savvy.
Planning and effectively implementing projects and general work tasks for yourself and others is a highly effective soft skill. Haphazard, slapdash organization wastes your colleagues’ time and your employers’ money, so having stacked skills in the organization department will always come in handy.
3. Teamwork Skills
The bigger the company you work for, the bigger the chance you’re a member of more than one team, which means solid team player skills are crucial. How well do you work with other team members in reaching team goals? How do you help other team members? Are you an asset to every team that you’re a part of, and how?
No one likes to wait. Not for employees late to a meeting; not for candidates late to a job interview; and certainly not for colleagues who deliver their work late on million-dollar business projects. We’ve all heard some variation of “5 minutes early is on time. On-time is late. Late is unacceptable.” Where do you fall on the punctuality scale?
5. Critical Thinking
The ability to use imagination, reasoning, experience, research and available resources to understand and then resolve issues fundamentally is attractive for obvious reasons. Highlight this skill by listing an example (or speaking of one in an interview) of a time when your company dealt with a sticky situation, and you effectively addressed/resolved it via critical thinking skills.
6. Social Skills
The more people you encounter daily, the more important your social skills will be to your success. If you can handle yourself in all situations when dealing with other people, regardless of stature, position, or rank? You can deal with a wide variety of personalities.
This is probably the most underrated soft skill because it usually takes someone creative to appreciate others, and most people aren’t that creative.
Creativity doesn’t mean being an artist; it means being resourceful and innovative in finding solutions to problems at work. Can you tell a story of an unusual or unconventional way that you solved a problem at work?
8. Interpersonal Communication
Working in teams, relating to people, and managing conflict is a valuable asset in the workplace. Interpersonal communication is an important skill to hone to get ahead, and as you advance in your career, the aptitude for working with others becomes even more crucial.
Don’t underestimate the ability to adapt to changes. In today’s tech-driven and rapidly evolving business environment, the ability to pick up on new technologies and adjust to changing business surroundings is critically important.
10. Friendly Personality
People want to work with people they like or think they’ll like—people who are easygoing, optimistic, and even fun to be around regardless of the situation. Do other people tend to come away feeling good after working with you? How can you tell?
Stand out and make your resume more effective by highlighting your soft skills. Goodluck!